Political Representation in the European Union: A Common Whole, Various Wholes, or Just a Hole?

Karlheinz Neunreither

in European Integration After Amsterdam

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296409
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599989 | DOI:
 Political Representation in the European Union: A Common Whole, Various Wholes, or Just a Hole?

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Examines the peculiarities of political representation in the EU. Who represents whom in the European Union? Member States are represented via their governments in the Council, the peoples of the same Member States are represented in the directly elected European Parliament, the regions in the Committee of the Regions, and finally various economic and social groups in the Economic and Social Committee. But is there a political representation of the EU as a whole? The article argues that this is not just a purely theoretical question, but has important practical effects, among others in differentiated integration including the Eurozone arrangements. The European Parliament is directly affected by this situation in which several scenarios are possible. A forward EP strategy would consist in defending its right to represent the whole of the EU, not just its composing parts. This would be close to a federal option. Other scenarios include a strengthening of national parliaments, or––in the worst case––a weakening of political representation both in the Member States and the EU with possible substantial damages for the existing democratic systems.

Keywords: democratic deficit; differentiated integration; elections; EU Council; European Parliament; federalism; national parliaments; regions; representation

Chapter.  10412 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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